The MHS Journals

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Realistic New Year’s Resolutions for Those Dealing with Depression

Jan 6, 2021

Make Mental Health A Priority in Your Resolutions

As one year ends and a new one begins, our thoughts turn to what we’d like to do with the blank slate before us. While many people look forward with excitement, for the estimated 350 million people struggling with different types of depression, it can be a time of frustration, sadness, and disappointment. Realistic goals can be great motivators, but when you set unattainable targets for yourself, the result may be feelings of failure and an even deeper state of depression. Here are some tips for avoiding this situation as you’re welcoming in the new year.

Losing weight, eating less junk food, and exercising more are three of the most common New Year’s resolutions. However, mental health is equally important, and good mental health makes sticking to those good health habits easier. Consider adding some of these tips to your plan for next year.

Rest More

When you are busy with all of your day-to-day responsibilities and find you need more hours in the day, it’s easy to trim those minutes from your sleep schedule. As a result, many people exist in a constantly sleep-deprived state. A lack of adequate rest can aggravate depressive symptoms, and if you suffer from anxiety, it may lead to an inability to fall asleep. In the new year, resolve to take steps to improve your sleep numbers.

  • Set and maintain a consistent bedtime and a set time to wake up each day, including weekends.
  • Shoot for seven to eight hours of sleep at a time. Many people try to catch up on sleep by taking naps, but they are not as rejuvenating to the body and mind as a consistent night’s sleep.
  • If you struggle to sleep or stay asleep, talk with a mental health professional who may prescribe some techniques that will help.


Move More

While it is cliche, exercise does make a good New Year’s resolution. However, you don’t have to join an expensive gym or commit to a grueling workout routine that you can’t stick to long term. Instead, resolve to move more, whatever form that takes. Take a walk on your lunch break. Do some gentle yoga right before bed. Anything that gets you up out of your chair is a step in the right direction.

Do More of What You Enjoy

If you have a hobby that you love, one that makes you feel good and lifts you out of a sad mood, find a way to do more of that in the new year. If you don’t have one, explore some things you’ve always wanted to try. Finding a hobby that you enjoy and are good at is an excellent way to raise your self-confidence. Make those things a priority, and don’t apologize or feel guilty for that. Your mental health matters, and you have a right to do something you enjoy, just for your wellbeing.

Unplug More

One healthy New Year’s resolution might be to take a break from all forms of social media. You are watching the sanitized version of people’s lives that they share on social media, not reality. These images may aggravate feelings of inferiority and hopelessness. As part of your New Year’s resolution, consider turning off your social media accounts for a day or a week. The improved mental health you experience may be enough to make you pull the plug permanently. If you must keep them active, try avoiding social media after 6 p.m. each day, letting your mind focus on other things until the next morning.

Meditate More

Meditation is a proven stress-reduction strategy, and it also helps improve productivity as you go about your daily tasks. When you incorporate meditation into your day, you may find a greater sense of control over your time and an improved ability to prioritize what is important over what is less critical. If you’re unsure where to start, peruse the many apps and websites that can teach you how to begin incorporating meditation into your day. A New Year’s resolution to add a 10-minute meditation to your day can make a world of difference in the state of your mental health.

Plan More

It may seem old-fashioned to carry around a paper planner in a world of electronic calendars and reminders. However, many people find that writing down their plans for the day, week, month, or even a full year, reduces anxiety. Putting pen to paper helps you get everything out of your mind and puts it in front of you in black and white, or whatever color palette you choose. When you write it down, you don’t have to worry about forgetting. Here are a few other tips for using your planner to incorporate into your New Year’s resolution.

  • Keep up with how long it takes you to do the various tasks in your planner. This exercise helps you refine your planning process and gives you more control of your time.
  • Check off each task as you complete it and be proud of what you accomplish.
  • Prioritize the things you put into your planner, and let it keep you on track during the day. If you find yourself overwhelmed and wondering what to do next, trust the thought process that went into what you wrote on the pages.


Get More Help When You Need It

If you or someone you love struggles with depression or another form of mental health challenge, remember that this time of year can be challenging. At MHS, we offer customized treatment options to help. Contact us online or call (952) 835-2002 today to schedule an assessment.



Image Credit: Shutterstock/ Farknot Architect